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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a warning on May 1, 2017, urging consumers to immediately stop using the LayZ Board self-balancing scooters or “hoverboards” because of evidence linking them to fires.

The CPSC reported that a tragic fire occurred on March 10, 2017, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in which three people were killed, including two young girls. That fire is believed to have been caused by a LayZ Board hoverboard.

Hoverboard Risk of Fire

Two Young Girls Die in Hoverboard Fire

A Fox News report on the Harrisburg fire noted that the hoverboard was plugged into an electric outlet to recharge when the fire broke out according to fire officials. Individuals in the home at the time heard “sizzling and crackling” in the hoverboard shortly before it exploded in flames.

A three-year-old girl who was in the home at the time died in the fire. Two other girls were hospitalized in critical condition. Fire Lieutenant Dennis DeVoe, a 21-year-old veteran, was on his way to respond to the fire when he was hit by another vehicle at an intersection. He was taken to the hospital and later died of his injuries.

A 10-month old girl who was at home during the fire was also hospitalized and passed away a few days after the fire, due to complications from severe burns.

CPSC Warns Consumers to Stop Using LayZ Board Hoverboards

The CPSC recalled more than 500,000 hoverboards from 11 different companies in 2016, due to concerns of explosions and fire risks. In a March 16, 2017, press release, it reported that the CPSC is investigating the Harrisburg fire, and urged consumers to check to see if any hoverboards they owned had been recalled, noting that “[i]t is not too late for consumers to receive a refund or replacement battery”.

The Commission has determined that the LayZ Board caused the Harrisburg fire. The LayZ Board Hoverboard is a two-wheeled, battery-powered scooter with a pivoting platform. More than 3,000 of these hoverboards have been imported into the U.S from China. The CPSC is urging consumers who dispose of these products to bring them to a local recycling center for safe handling of the lithium-ion battery.

Problems with Hoverboards Started in 2015

A number of other self-balancing scooters or hoverboards have been recalled.  Vecaro Lifestyle hoverboards were recalled on March 23, 2017, because of three reported incidents of the hoverboards smoking. This recall affected around 500 units. Consumers were advised to stop using the products and contact the manufacturer to return the units to receive free repairs or purchase credits.

Problems began in late 2015 when the first reports of hoverboard fires came into the CPSC. The products were gaining popularity at that time, and in January 2016, the Commission announced it was investigating 13 companies.

Just a month later, the CPSC stated they had received reports of hoverboard fires from consumers in over 24 states. That same month, it sent a letter to hoverboard manufacturers and retailers urging them all to comply with “currently applicable voluntary safety standards.” It also notified the companies that hoverboards that don’t meet these standards “post an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers.”

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